Biotech in Munster

Posted Jun 29, 2017

Biotech drugs (vaccines, biologics) continue to gain traction in the Life Sciences sector. Annual sales of biopharmaceuticals are now estimated at over $280 billion globally, and an increasing number and percentage of pharmaceuticals entering the market are biopharmaceuticals. Ireland has successfully grown its presence in this market niche and is now recognized as one of the top global Biotech manufacturing hubs.

Munster has always been a key location for Biotech companies since the first Irish Biotech investment by Schering Plough Brinny (now MSD) in 1983. This trailblazing investment was followed by other major pharma companies making significant strategic investments in Biotech in Cork such as Eli Lilly, Janssen and Pfizer (facility now owned by Biomarin).

There is a wide range of facilities in Munster supporting different markets for example Janssen Ringaskiddy is focussed on low/mid-volume-rapid-prototyping for Clinical trial and early stage commercialisation. Biomarin and Regeneron are focussed on some of the most acute and debilitating Orphan/rare diseases. While MSD Brinny, Eli Lilly Kinsale and Sanofi Waterford produce market leading high volume global drugs products that support millions of patients worldwide.

The investment in Munster BioPharma has remained consistent with announcements in 2015 by Amneal in Tipperary focussed on high-end speciality medications and Biosimilars and in 2016 the exciting GE BioPark campus with an innovative hub and spoke multi-tenant rapid deployment facility.

All of this commercial Biotech activity is made possible because of the support infrastructure in place in Munster including:

  • Global leading edge technical expertise in Manufacturing IT i.e. Automation & MES (Emerson/Rockwell/Zenith/ESP), project management, process design and Commissioning & Qualification (PM Cork/Jacobs Cork)
  • Skills training from BPCI-Skillsnet, the BioPharma training Centre in Cork and NIBRT Dublin
  • Third level institutes delivering high calibre highly skilled graduates
  • A significant number of niche market indigenous Irish SME companies who have a history of supporting this industry

As the global BioPharma market continues to grow, Munster is perfectly placed with its support infrastructure and depth of technical expertise to continue to attract foreign direct investment and to expand further.

Some interesting facts:

  • The number of facilities in Ireland has grown from two in 2003 to 18 facilities in 2015
  • 0ver 5,000 new staff roles in Biotech from 2015-2018
  • First Biotech facility in Ireland was Schering-Plough (now MSD) Brinny, Innishannon, Co Cork
  • €10bill invested in the last 10 years in Ireland
  • Approximately €3billion of Biotech currently under construction in Ireland